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(Ireland) Over 1,500 kids in Cork/Kerry waiting for ASD diagnosis; no services without one

Sept 24, 2018, Southern Star: Over 1,500 children are waiting for a disability diagnosis https://www.southernstar.ie/news/roundup/articles/2018/09/24/4162288-over-1500-children-are-waiting-for-a-disability-diagnosis/ CORK and Kerry have a combined waiting list of 1,578 children overdue an assessment for a suspected disability – 40% of the country’s overall figure. And one Bandon mum is so desperate to get her son’s special needs officially assessed so she can avail of supports quickly, that she has taken out a credit union loan of €700 [$1,044 US dollars] to pay for private assessment. The two-and-a half year old toddler from Bandon, who has suspected autism, has been waiting nine months for his Assessment of Need (AON) which would give him access to things like an SNA at pre-school, as well as speech and occupational therapies. … An AON allows a child access things like specialist pre-schools, special classes or allow a school to apply for an SNA on their behalf. Some school places specifically require a HSE AON diagnosis. … ‘Our club is supporting around 10 families who are waiting for an official diagnosis. Many of them are pre-school age, but simply can’t go as they don’t have access to special supports,’ she said. Deputy Murphy O’Mahony said she believed delays were caused by staffing levels: ‘We have been promised 129 teams every year for the past three years, and every year the HSE has failed to meet that target,’ she said. …